8
Sep

Making Money With $1.25 Leads Using Pay Per Click

If you belong to any of the CPA networks you’ve probably seen the offers where all someone has to do is enter their email address or zip code and you get paid anywhere from $1.10 to $1.75 per lead. These offers always revolve around getting a free Wii game console, getting a free trip to Las Vegas, or getting any number of things for free. Most of these offers are promoted via large email lists, but you may have also noticed that you can promote some of these offers by using pay-per-click search marketing. Fantastic, you’re probably thinking right now, how can you spend 20 or 30 or 40 cents a click and possibly make money with an average lead only earning you in the neighborhood of $1.25?

Believe me, you can do it, because I’ve been doing it for the last 4 days and have earned more than $250 in the process. Only you aren’t paying any more than about 6 or 7 cents a click, but more like 4 or 5 cents. Here’s my stats for the last 4 days below:

Zip Sumit Earnings

There are 2 secrets. The first is using the Google, Yahoo or MSN content network and doing non-traditional targeting. For instance, lets say a CPA network has an offer where a user can get a chance to win a set of Callaway golf clubs just for entering their email address (and with completion of program terms) and you get a $1.25 payout. Most people, including me in the past, would target golf club type keywords and other high profile golf keywords such as manufacturers, golf balls, etc. The only trouble is, these keywords are way too competitive to attempt to make a go here even with the low cost of the content network.

So instead of targeting competitive, high cost keywords, you could maybe target a list the most popular golf courses in the United States, or the names of the top tournaments throughout the US during the year, even better would be to make up a list of the top golfers in history, the more modern the better. Obviously people interested in top golfers, golf courses and tournaments would also be interested in winning a set of Callaway golf clubs.

The second secret is a little more secret in that I can’t really divulge much here because of TOS violations with PPC Coach, but I can at least explain the concept. You have to think out of the box for this one. What you normally do when promoting any offer is pick the one you think will do best and then target it with various keywords to get traffic. Stop right there! Switch your thinking 180 degrees and brainstorm about traffic first. Regardless of what the offer is, how would you get traffic? Think about what the sources and issues surrounding high traffic are. How can you maximize the most traffic using the content network on Google, Yahoo or MSN and pay the least for it?

Once you have that figured out, then you set up an offer to capitalize on the traffic. Also, make sure you read Google’s Contextual Targeting vs Search Targeting guidelines and don’t put more than 50 words in an ad group.

If you want to learn more, you’ll have to join PPC Coach for the details.

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14
Aug

Harsh Reality 5 – No Risk Equals No Reward

Big RiskAffiliate marketing is somewhat like investing in that you have to decide what you are willing to risk to ultimately succeed. Be it time, money, a regular work schedule or the comforts of a nice car and other material things until you reach a livable level of income, all these things will factor into your risk tolerance.

Time is not always thought of as being risky to spend, but it is because we only have one time bank account and when it’s gone, it’s gone, no earning it back. That’s why it’s important to put your time into something that has the potential to earn you an income for a long time.

Working on spammy techniques or purposely going against search engine webmaster guidelines that put your business at risk may earn you some money up front, but they will seriously hamper your venture for the long run. There’s a difference in using a loophole in the system, that when it’s closed will only cause you a loss of traffic from one source versus risking your entire site or network of sites being deindexed from the major search engines. Loopholes are meant to be exploited, clear policy violations will eventually kill your business.

You can also spend time on building what you thought was a wonderful idea for a site only to have it fail and not really be able to figure out why. I put many hours into a work at home site a few years ago and even though the site has been up for about 4 years, it may get 30 visitors on a good day. The site used to get 200 or 300 people a day, but it eventually died a slow death as page after page lost rankings and traffic plummeted. Maybe it was too may affiliate links, maybe the site was too broad in scope, probably it was the domain name with 6 dashes in it (stupid!), I might never know. But I do know I put a lot of work into something that didn’t pay off. At least one thing I learned from building that site was to never get a domain name with dashes in it.

Money is a harder commodity to be risked because we can see the immediate results of losing it and racking up big debts through PPC or other advertising. But that’s what any advertising is really all about, getting your product or service in front of the right customer in the hopes you’ll make some sales, eventually making a profit. You do that by risking money up front and there are no guarantees.

That’s why it’s important to set a budget that you can afford to spend (risk) on advertising. My wife is the accountant in our home and we determined that any earnings my affiliate business generated over $2,500 per month could be spent on advertising and more specifically PPC. Through reading the adventures of PPC masters and thoughtful consideration of several offers, I am now earning some money with PPC.

I was also fortunate enough to get $250 in Facebook ads coupons and even thought I didn’t do so well with them and ended up spending more money after those coupons ran out, I’m now turning a pretty good profit with FB ads because I just felt there was a way to make them work. Despite losing money up front, despite the ridiculous hoops they make you jump through at FB to advertise, if I would have given up I wouldn’t be realizing almost $100 a day profit now. The risk in time and money has definitely been worth it.

And that’s the lesson to be learned. If you are reading what the experts in PPC have to say, learning from your mistakes, willing to risk time and money and are dilligent in your efforts, more than likely they will eventually pay off. The reason I was willing to risk more time and effort with FB is because for the people who are succeeding, they are succeeding wildly and I just though, ‘I don’t care if I have to spend $2,000 or $3,000, I’m going to make this work.’ Something just happens when you have an attitude adjustment like that. The trick now is to transfer my Facebook success over to PPC with Adwords. Maybe a bit more difficult task, but the truth is, it does work for some, why not for me or you?

Educate, calculate, risk, and earn the reward.

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13
Aug

Profiting With Facebook Ads

I’m taking a break today from the Harsh Reality series to report on some success with Facebook Ads, finally. Over the last 3 days I’ve found out that yes, you can actually make some money with Facebook. It does take quite a bit of trial and error to find an offer that works and to be able to write your ads in a way that will please the ad editors, but when you finally get everything right, Facebook converts like crazy.

Over the last 4 days starting with Saturday evening I’ve earned a little more than $300 by running several niche offers. The best ones are a niche within a larger niche and I have one in particular that’s earning about $3 for every $1 I put into it. I’ve never even come close to anything like that with Adwords so this one is doing exceptionally well.

Facebook SpendI’ve found the trick with making a profit on Facebook is finding an offer that obviously appeals to the college and career minded individual, of which there are millions on FB, and it has to be easy and, even better, free to join, something that doesn’t require a credit card, at least initially and requires not more than about 8 fields to fill out.

One thing that has come as a surprise to me only in the last month or so, is that you can make money with cheap leads where you only earn $1.50 to $4 or so. In my previous experience with driving traffic via Adwords, it took lots of traffic to even get one conversion, but as the payoff per lead goes down, they will generally be easier and less costly to convert.

Spending stats for Facebook are above and here’s my earnings stats from AzoogleAds over the last 4 days or so:

Azoogle Earnings

The Facebook campaigns were started sometime on Saturday afternoon so they’re for a little less than 4 – 24 days. Total revenue for the 4 day period is $548.10 with spending at $233.57 resulting in a profit of $314.53. Not bad for a few hours worth of work over not quite 4 days.

To get profitable I started out the campaigns at around 35 cents a click and pared some down to 21 cents per click trying to keep my CTR consistent. Even if you can get your clicks down by 5 cents and it takes you 6 clicks to get a lead, as it did with my top earner, you can earn 30 cents more per lead which translates out to $30 extra profit per 100 leads.

Now for a little rant. You can make a profit with Facebook ads if you don’t give up and just keep looking for an offer that converts, but it can be difficult because of the utter incompetence of the Facebook Ads department. It is a complete joke what’s going on there. Sometimes it takes 5 or 6 tries to get your ads approved and I even had one ad that took me 4 times to come into compliance with one rule only to be disapproved for a completely different rule on try number 5. All the while my best performing ad is apparently in violation of both rules, yet they’re letting it run.

I’ve had ads approved and run for 1 hour and then turned off because they’re violating some insane policy. The Excel downloadable reports are absolutely worthless because they aren’t divided by campaign or date, just a single row of info (why even bother making an .xls file?). There isn’t any way to get a monthly report by campaign or day, you must go into each individual campaign and get reports by the week which will make for complicated accounting at the end of the month and there’s even more.

The incredible shortsightedness on the part of the developers of the ad system at Facebook is mind-boggling and then to top it off by staffing it with people that must have zero experience in advertising or making money online is truly astonishing. Facebook could probably be making billions with their ads, but because they are so user unfriendly and must employ people like the soup Nazi on Seinfeld to approve ads, they’re probably bleeding advertisers, and more importantly revenue, by the dump truck loads. End rant.

The best way to get your ads approved seems to be to get them in early in the morning before 10 am Eastern time. I’m guessing there are thousands of ads to approve from the night before and they are probably spending less time looking at your ads and are less alert because their Starbucks buzz hasn’t kicked in yet. I’ve had the exact same ad, only targeted differently, approved in the morning and not approved in the afternoon or evening multiple times, so they may be spending more time looking at things after the workload dwindles throughout the day.

If you’re going to make money with Facebook ads just decide right now to suck it up, bring a pick axe and keep chipping away at the rock because there are little gems to be had in there somewhere. Just keep looking.

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11
Aug

Harsh Reality 3 – You’ll Never Make A Living With Banner Ads

Buy Billboard Space And Make Money

If your affiliate marketing business is based on plastering your blog or web site with nothing but banner ads, just close up shop now and go back to whatever you were doing before you heard about making money online. The harsh reality is that banner ads died about 2 weeks after Al Gore invented the internet, long before he started trying to re-freeze the polar ice caps.

Even though banner ads have come and gone as a way to drive serious traffic to merchants, advertise your products or earn a living online, it is amazing the amount webmasters that still think people are going to spend any time shopping on a website that looks like a bad tile job from Home Depot. While the major search engines have done a pretty good job weeding out sites like this, if you spend any time on Entrecard or social sites, you’ll come across lots of affiliate sites that aren’t worth more than a 2 second look.

Who really enjoys shopping on a site that offers travel services, discount baby supplies coupons, iPods, digital cameras, plus size clothing and advice on making money online all on the same site via the glorious banner ad? You may use your site to get discounts from your own affiliate programs, but the sad reality is that no one else is doing so. I examine the question about buying from your own website a little deeper in this post.

The contrast between being able to find sites like this on Entrecard and search engines should tell you something right there. If you can’t find your site or blog through a search engine for any relevant keywords that actually get traffic, you probably aren’t getting enough free traffic to keep your affiliate business alive. Yes, that’s pretty much a no brainer, but if you read the first post in this series by clicking on the link above, you’ll see that for some, that reality hasn’t sunk in yet.

But wait a minute, you’re probably saying, “Don’t I see banner ads on your site Mr Affiliate Confession and frankly just about everywhere else. Somebody must be making money with these things!” We’re talking about two different things here. For the average affiliate marketer starting out, the money isn’t going to be made in banner advertising. Well established blogs with thousands of visitors per day can make money by selling banner ads and less well established, but still on the rise blogs such as Affiliate Confession can be a good place to brand yourself and possibly get a few sales. I even advertise on some blogs and have used Entrecard as a means to brand this blog and let people see my name on various blogs they may visit.

The big difference is that I’m not making a living, buy either selling ad space on my blog or buying it from others. Making money in affiliate marketing is made from utilizing many different tools, niches, products, advertising mediums such as PPC and other connections and ventures. The more you diversify, yet still have a focus, the better chance you have of finding a few niches that will bring you some good income.

If you have a blog or two, plastered with banner ads and aren’t making any money, it’s time to start writing some decent content, stop relying on the chance clicks that earn you $6 a month and venture into a different arena with your marketing efforts. 

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31
Jul

Facebook Advertising Report

Facebook AdsOver the last 3 weeks or so I’ve had the joy of trying to make money with Facebook Ads and trying to figure out what the minds in the ad department will allow to be shown on their site. Luckily I was able to secure $250 in free Facebook advertising coupons (some have expired as of this post) via NeilsWeb.com so this little advertising experiment didn’t cost me anything.

Probably the biggest drawback to advertising on Facebook is just trying to figure out what the ad editors want. In a previous post I lamented that the ad editors were so arbitrary in their decision making that they were causing blood to shoot from my eyes. After posting some 28 ads and getting 8 disapproved, I think I finally have somewhat of a handle on what is acceptable. They won’t accept anything that even remotely resembles spammy advertising, whether it be in the way you write your ads or the product you’re advertising.

Their old advertising guidelines don’t give you much direction on how your ads should be worded and while their new guidelines (not yet published, but found at Nickycakes.com) are much better at explaining what they’re looking for, their philosophy on advertising in general is bizarre to say the least. The text in your ad can’t imply that there is anything wrong with a person who might click on your ad. For instance, ads for weight loss products can’t say something like, “Want To Lose That Weight?” because that would be implying that those who want to lose weight are overweight. Well ya! Your ads must be worded in a neutral way such as, “Lose Weight With Product X” or Product X Weight Loss”. Completely lame.

It seems like the ad department at Facebook needs a little schooling in long established marketing principles because they seem to be hell bent on rewriting the rules of advertising. For Facebook to not even allow you to creatively pique a potential customer’s interest by asking a question, to establish a need, is just plain foolish. The powers that be at FB might have to rethink that one when their ad revenue starts drying up.

So what exactly happened with the $250 in free advertising credits? Well, my results didn’t turn out all that well. After spending $247 of the $250 I managed to only earn back $87.15, not a good return. Here’s how it all breaks down:

28 total ads created

8 disapproved

4 ads generated revenue

AzoogleAds Campaign = 9.50
Azoogle Campaign 2 = 23.35
Azoogle Campaign 3 = 2.50
Market Leverage Campaign = 51.80

Total = 87.15

3 Paused due to bleeding revenue to the tune of $97 in about 2 days time.

Probably the biggest hindrance to earning back the $250 was the high bid prices that are suggested you start your campaign with. Many of them are in the 50 to 70 cents per click range and I started 3 campaigns that ate up $97 rather quickly and produced zero results. I didn’t really figure out how some people such as Neil from NeilsWeb.com are able to get their bids low and still get a decent CTR. Most of my campaigns ran at a ridiculously low CTR of 0.03% and while I ran one campaign after I’d spent the $250 in free credits that got a 0.27% CTR, it ended up producing zero revenue after spending around $30.

Okay, what did I learn from this? While it’s still somewhat of mystery as to how some people are rockin Facebook Ads and cleaning up in revenue, I learned these basic things:

  • Don’t advertise spammy offers.
  • Find the fine line between neutral and creating too much of a sensation and you will get your ads approved.
  • Watch your ads closely and reduce bid prices accordingly if you are spending too much.
  • Look for offers or products that pay high, cost the consumer little and have appeal to the young Facebook audience.
  • Don’t listen to me, I essentially lost money! For crying out loud, read NeilsWeb.com and NickyCakes.com and learn from people who actually make money with Facebook Ads.

I’m not taking this as defeat though. There is a way to make money with Facebook Ads because other people are doing it, I’m just going to be a lot more careful with the next $250 spent, because this time it’s my money on the table.

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